Every telco in India right now wants to control the cost of their spending on 5G gear. Being reliant on a single vendor such as Nokia or Ericsson won't work well for a company like Airtel. If that were to be the case, then it would be the vendors who would run the show and charge exorbitant money from the telcos for gear. But Airtel has played it safe here and diversified its vendors to ensure that it can stay on top of the charges. Samsung is working with Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung for 5G deployments. Airtel will work with Ericsson in 12 circles, and the remaining will be left for Samsung and Nokia. This is a good strategy and something that Vodafone Idea should definitely do as well.
Airtel to Commence Rolling Out 5G from August 2022
Airtel's CEO had said that the telco would commence rolling out 5G from August 2022 itself. It will be interesting to see whether it is early August or late August. No dates were hinted at by Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel.
Airtel would definitely want to get a one-up in the eyes of the Indian customers by launching 5G network services before Jio. But honestly, it would matter more about how Airtel is planning to monetise services rather than just how fast the services are launched. Airtel hadn't commented on how much money the deal with the vendors involves, but there is an ET report which suggests that Airtel has signed a $2.5 billion multi-year deal with the three vendors mentioned above.
Ericsson and Nokia have a lot of experience in working with telcos across the world in helping them launch network services, especially 5G. Samsung is still a fairly small player in this domain, but deals such as this with Airtel is how the South Korean tech giant will make its space in the market.